The main differences between the two laws are that civil law is aimed at protecting the individual, while criminal law is aimed at punishing the offender. There is no specific law in the UK called domestic violence under criminal law, but the type of abuse that fall under criminal law include: false imprisonment, sexual abuse, assault, etc.
Under civil law you have the right to have the courts tell your abuser to stop harassing or hurting you, or to simply stay away from your home. This can be done by seeking an injunction from the civil courts. It is under civil law that an individual can seek a court order through family court for custody of children.
Two main types of injunction that you can apply for:
1. A non-molestation order. The main aim of this court order is to prevent your partner from displaying threatening behaviour or using abuse towards you. It is now a criminal offence to break a non-molestation order
2. A occupation order. This can restrict your abuser from entering your surrounding area if you feel unsafe.
But a new law is set to be considered, according to the guardian newspaper. “Offenders could be jailed for up to 14 years if US-style legislation is voted through by MPs” http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/dec/28/domestic-violence-new-law-jail-term Quote from the article:
“MPs from all parties are backing a tough US-style law that would make domestic abuse a specific offence carrying a sentence of up to 14 years in prison.”
“According to the Home Office, some